Testing the load…
Laura and I have done several S24Os and short mini-tours so we typically know what to pack. I can usually pack in about an hour and be out the door and if I forget something, no big deal. We’ll be back in a day or two. However, for a longer trip everything counts. For a trip like we’re planning, we have to prepare for lots of weather conditions and be able to carry a lot of water and food.
I have the additional weight of the laptop, camera, lenses, chargers and audio equipment. Since I don’t usually carry that stuff on our regular tours, I had to order a new bag from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com. After watching a video on famed bike tourist Ian Hibell and seeing how he packs, I decided to move my load around a little.
In the handlebar bag I have my DSLR and a point and shoot, a patch kit, multitool, hand sanitizer, gloves, snacks and other sundries. In the Ortlieb Rack Bag, I have my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent poles, sweater and axe. On top of the rack bag is my folding tripod chair (handy for tire changing and camping where there are no picnic tables). The bungees also allow me to slip in clothes or towels that I can dry while riding!
In the left pannier are my clothes, which also act to pad my laptop and technical equipment. In the right pannier is the kitchen, which contains pots, 2 stoves, knife, other “smellables” (keep them altogether so when we go into bear country we just hang up one bag) and of course, food. Lots of it.
I took the bike out for a spin today to see if it would feel top heavy. To the contrary it was great! The sleeping bag and pad aren’t heavy, just bulky so putting those things up higher didn’t throw the balance off as much. I rode with about 80% of actual touring load and it maneuvered rather well. I’m impressed. I’ll be putting this set-up through its paces next week in Paso Robles so I’ll have a good practice run for the Big Trip.
david May 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm
Hey when are you going to be leaving on your trip? what route are you going to take?
Russ May 18, 2009 at 1:04 am
Tentative launch date will be late July/early-August…the route is roughly two transcontinental crossings of the US then south through Mexico, Central America and South America…a lot of details will be determined by stories and people we want to cover…so, it is pretty open ended.
Logan May 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm
Is Portland, Oregon on your list to visit? I remember that you had mentioned in passing that you had considered moving/visiting the vélo mecca. Tammy just got back from a visit to Portland this last week and she was smitten with the city. 🙂
Dylan May 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm
Enjoying the posts so far, especially since I just built an LHT and am planning to ride either that or my Big Dummy cross-country next year.
Jack May 19, 2009 at 6:11 am
Great link (the S24O download)! Being a bit OCD I have to click those things. Grant Peterson is a hilarious writer.
Laura May 19, 2009 at 11:07 am
Hey Logan – Portland is definitely in our plans (We love puddletown!). In fact, I have a good friend getting married just south of Portland in August, so if we can get our act together, it’ll be at the beginning of our adventure! 🙂
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Justin May 25, 2009 at 9:57 pm
Excited for your future travels ahead! Unless you’ll be using it for protection, leave the axe. Practice “leave no trace” ethic, the axe encourages its use and fires. Think and pack like a PCT hiker, lighter the better.
May the road treat you kindly. If you are in Costa Rica, contact me. You can stay at our friends house in Puerto Viejo before crossing to Panama.
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Your set up looks great Russ. Your comment about the LHT fully loaded reminded me of the first time I loaded mine down with 50 lbs of groceries. The bike almost felt more stable with the weight on than off…not at all what I had predicted. 🙂
I look forward to read more about your set up once you and Laura get a chance to update your “gear” page. 🙂